“If your beliefs are not in line with ours, we will not adopt a pet to you.”
—Kim Sill, founder of the Shelter Hope Pet Shop in Thousand Oaks, California in her shop’s weekly newsletter.
Pro tip for Kim: if you are going to say something really stupid and offensive in public, at least do it grammatically.
Other than that, this obnoxious, virtue-signalling Constitutional scholar is informing all that she wants to tear down a crucial support-beam in the entire democratic structure of the United States. While discrimination on the basis of political affiliations and viewpoints is not forbidden under civil rights and public accommodation laws, it is a surefire way to guarantee civil unrest and a society that is divided and miserable in which to live. The pet store’s bigotry—and that’s what it is, bigotry—violates the spirit of the First Amendment and the well-established formula for a fair and open society.
Well, I tried again to discuss gun regulation with my next door neighbor following the Uvalde shooting. (The first time was a week before the shooting, discussed here.) We were talking over the proverbial fence about the Uvalde police chief, and her husband said, “Watch: now the whole thing will be blamed on him.” Before I could get out, “Well, not the whole thing, but you have to agree that the police share some resp…,” my neighbor said, “They’ll blame everything but the real cause: there is no reason to allow people to buy automatic weapons.”
“To be completely accurate,” I said cheerily, “you can’t legally buy automatic weapons. That guy in Texas had a semi-automatic.” She literally ignored that distinction. We talked for another 15 minutes, and she kept saying “automatic weapon.” “It’s just the difference between 400 bullets a minute and 300 anyway,” her husband offered. I assume he believes that; when I noted the same distinction between semi-automatic and automatic in a discussion on Facebook, my sister called it “semantics.” It’s not semantics! Moreover, an AR-15 can get off about 40 accurate rounds in the hands of a trained shooter, and about 25 when being used by someone like Ramos. An AK-47, a genuine “assault rifle,” fires about 600 rounds a minute. Hmmm…40 vs. 600. I’d say that’s a material difference. But my neighbor didn’t want to hear it, and didn’t. Continue reading →
The above political cartoon is from Alas! A Blog, where Ethics Alarms exile Barry Deutsch reigns. Barry was formerly a stand-out advocate for the Left on Ethics Alarms until he self-banished for reasons not relevant here. He’s a smart, ethics-savvy, informed, articulate and passionate straight down-the-agenda progressive; he’s also a political cartoonist by trade, an art form I believe has passed its pull date, and that now mostly serves as a device to make dishonest or simplistic arguments for knee-jerk partisans, kind of a visual Charles M. Blow column. I check in on Barry’s blog periodically, and when I did yesterday I was greeted by the above cartoon, drawn by Barry and written by his occasional collaborator Rachel Moore.
It surprised me, not because of its routine anti-Second Amendment message, for as I said, Barry’s progressivism checks every box. It surprised me because I find it astounding that anyone as informed as Barry would pick this, of all times, to unveil that cartoon.
Here, as elsewhere in the fighting around Kyiv, the Ukrainian military achieved its battlefield success by deploying small, fast-moving units largely on foot that staged ambushes or defended sites with the benefit of local knowledge. Many such units are based in central Kyiv, commuting to the war zone by car.
This is not a perfect analogy to the situation that would arise should the United States government decide to “wipe out freedom,” but it certainly ought to be food for thought for those gun-hating zealots who ridicule the very idea that self-defense and the ability to present armed resistance to government tyranny are basic liberties worth protecting in the U.S. Continuing to make the most crude and insulting version of that argument at this time appears to expose an ideological position that is no longer susceptible to modification or reason.
If you like political cartoons, Barry is certainly a talented one , and you can support his art on Patreon.
If one bothers to read his opinion, which most anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment zealots will not, including your outraged friends on social media, it is clear that that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California judge’s long overdue ruling striking down the state’s three-decade-old unconstitutional ban on so-called “assault weapons” is well reasoned, well-researched, and difficult to rebut. As usual, those who want to remove the right to bear arms from law abiding Americans (while law-defying Americans continue to do as they please) are resorting to emotion and dishonesty to argue their case.
It is unfortunate that the judge, who is not one of those evil Trump judges but a moderate appointed by President Bush II, began his opinion with an invitation to be misquoted and misunderstood. “Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment,” Judge Benitez wrote, so furious would-be gun-grabbers are aping California Governor Gavin Newsom, who tweeted,
“Overturning CA’s assault weapon ban and comparing an AR-15 to a SWISS ARMY KNIFE is a disgusting slap in the face to those who have lost loved ones to gun violence. This is a direct threat to public safety and innocent Californians. We won’t stand for it.”
This raises the question, so frequently encountered on Ethics Alarms, of whether a speaker is deliberately lying, or just stupid. In this case, it is also possible that he only read the first sentence, which is irresponsible. Benitez, as the rest of his opinion makes crystal clear, was comparing the versatility of an AR-15 to a Swiss Army Knife, not their characteristics as weapons. An important part of his opinion explains that when the California legislature banned semi-automatic rifles,it never even considered the weapon’s value for self defense, and not just as a “sporting rifle.” (The Red Sox have a utility player named Marwin Gonzalez, and I have heard him compared to a Swiss Army Knife because he can play almost any position; in other words, he’s versatile. No baseball writer has been so foolish as to mock the characterization by saying that the comparison is ridiculous because the knives aren’t alive, Gonzales isn’t Swiss, and he’s much, much bigger.) It is also a non sequitur to call a ruling based on black letter law a “slap in the face” to anyone. Not following the Constitution, as California frequently wants to do, is a slap in the face of democracy.
It took a while, but my complaint about the advertising world’s bizarre decision to make pirates the sole politically correct genre for innocent childsplay finally generated the intriguing commentary I hoped it would.
Here are two Comments of the Day on the topic, breached in Item #1 of the post, “Ethics Dispatches From The Sick Ward, 5/26/2020: Arg! Yechh!”
1. Quotation ethics. The church next door has a message out front this week that says, “The time is right to always do the right thing”—Martin Luther King.
That’s not the quote. Misquotes get into the public lexicon that way; it’s unethical to go around posting sloppy versions of quotes on message boards. Stated like that, the quote is a tautology: if you always do the right thing, of course the time is right to do what you do anyway. Not that King’s actual quote is one of his best. The actual quote—“The time is always right to do the right thing” is pretty fatuous, and incorporates Rationalization #60. The Ironic Rationalization, or “It’s The Right Thing To Do” by assuming that what is the right thing to do is intrinsically obvious. Sometimes the right thing is to wait. Sometimes the right thing is yo be sure what you think is the right thing really is. King was dangerously arming ideologues and the self-righteous who think they are the ultimate arbiters of what is “right.”
Davey Crockett’s quote is better: “Be sure you are right, and then go ahead.”
2. Is it political correctness to point out that Jeff Dunham’s act is racist? After being told by my wife that I couldn’t watch any more holiday movies or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, my channel surfing today took me to Comedy Central and Christmas-themed performance by ventriloquist Jeff Dunham. Dunham’s low-brow act makes Charlie McCarthy seem like Oscar Wilde, and I cannot watch him and his howling audiences without thinking about this scene in “Blazing Saddles”…
He began his set with “Walter,” his bitter old curmudgeon dummy, whose face is perpetually scowling and whose arms are crossed in disgust with the world. To my amazement, Walter launched into an extended section ridiculing black speech, black slang, hip-hop, Kwanza and the Black Entertainment Network, and the huge, apparently all-white mid-West audience roared with laughter. How ugly and disturbing. These were jokes of denigration, about people who weren’t there. This was never anything but hate-mongering humor, not in 1948, 1958, 1968, or now. It’s an audience laughing at other people for simply being different than they are.
I kn ow, I know: how is this different from what Stephen Colbert, or Bill Maher, or Samantha Bee does in every performance? It isn’t different, really: it’s just that treating white people who aren’t “woke” as the “other” is considered acceptable, while doing this to minorities, gays or women is considered bigotry, hateful, and cowardly.
3. It annoys me that I should even have to say this, but calling “Die Hard” a Christmas movie is nothing but a cynical way to diminish Christmas and the spirit of kindness and love that the holidays are supposed to foster in order to promote future holiday marathons of a violent action movie. Celebrating the film’s 30 Anniversary, some Grinch at 20th Century Fox decided that it would be cute to promote Bruce Willis’s break-out film as “The Greatest Christmas Story” ever told, according to 20th Century Fox. Right: the movie ends with a strained family brought back together, takes place during a Christmas party, and Bruce’s wife is named “Holly.” It also involves the killing of more than twenty people, including police,l FBI agents, and innocent victims in addition to the bad guys the hero smokes.
And I like “Die Hard.” I even like two of its four vastly inferior sequels. Continue reading →
1 A Big Lie is born! The fact that Tom Arnold married Rosanne Barr tells me all I need to know about his intelligence and judgment, though it did get him a single good movie role in “True Lies,” which I never could completely enjoy because the her husband’s abuse of Jamie Lee Curtis’s character seemed so cruel and offensive, but was still played for laughs. That movie is decades old, but Arnold is still holing on to shred of celebrity by being a full-time President Trump troll, thus getting him the love and fealty of thousands of like-minded Twitter users. 250,000 of them.
Last week, he tweeted that “80% of gun owners shoot themselves or members of their own families.” His tweet was shared all over social media, and not entirely by those who used it to demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt that Arnold is a moron. Thus it will believed by many Americans, quoted by the anti-gun addled, and generally make Americans even dumber on this topic than they already are.
2. When will they ever learn? Or un-learn? The University of Montana is now featured as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE) “Speech Code of the Month.” It earned the honor by declaring in its Student Code of Conduct’s ‘Statement of Responsibility’ that all members of the campus community “have the personal responsibility to promote an atmosphere of civility,” and that discussions “should never become mean, nasty or vindictive.”
Of course, since the administrators of a committed left-biased institution will decide what is “mean” or “uncivil,” both subjective standards, you can guess whose speech will be chilled by this.
When did freedom of expression stop being a liberal value? Presumably it began when progressives stopped being able to defend their most extreme conduct, positions and beliefs…
1. This is weird. The Florida Supreme Court released a long-awaited decision concerning whether a judge’s Facebook friendship with an attorney should be grounds for disqualification if the attorney is arguing a case before that judge. The 4-3 opinion holds that:
In some circumstances, the relationship between a judge and a litigant, lawyer, or other person involved in a case will be a basis for disqualification of the judge. Particular friendship relationships may present such circumstances requiring disqualification. But our case law clearly establishes that not every relationship characterized as a friendship provides a basis for disqualification. And there is no reason that Facebook “friendships”—which regularly involve strangers—should be singled out and subjected to a per se rule of disqualification.
I could not disagree more. A friend request from a judge is inherently coercive, and creates pressure on the lawyer to accept. Who wants to tell a judge that he doesn’t want to be his friend? Other bar associations and courts have held that it is improper for judges and lawyers to “friend” each other if there is any chance that the judge will be presiding over the lawyer’s cases, and that is the wiser rule. My own preference would be for judges to stay off social media entirely, except for close friends and family. They can only get in trouble there.
2. And this is much weirder…Apparently an app, ‘Santa Call New 2018,’ briefly available for download at the Amazon Children’s Store, would place a call to “Santa”when kids pressed the ‘call’ button, and Jolly Saint Nick would reply, “Hello there. Can you hear me, children? In five nights, if you’re free, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
We don’t need further evidence that the Golden State has jumped the ethics shark, has general contempt for the Bill of Rights and is in thrall to Alinskyite “ends justify the means” rationalizations, but here it is anyway. California state lawyers tried to defend in federal court an old law, California Penal Code §26820, which read:
No handgun or imitation handgun, or placard advertising the sale or other transfer thereof, shall be displayed in any part of the premises where it can readily be seen from the outside.
Now, don’t ask me how a law like lasted as long as it has; the thing is 95 years old. But it’s embarrassingly unconstitutional. That’s prior restraint by definition. If a first year law student, or a well-educated college student (if thee are such things), reads that law, the First amendment alarms have to start ringing. Why wouldn’t California just repeal such a law, quietly, so as not t embarrass the state? Why wouldn’t California, like a state with some integrity that supports core U.S. values, just concede to the Court that the law is a dud, and not oppose the claim that it is illegal? I think we have to assume that is because the culture of this particular state has rotted through. It doesn’t support core U.S. values like the freedom of speech, which might be the most vital of them all. Continue reading →
That the latest school shooting, this one in Sante Fe, Texas that left ten dead, came so soon after the last one, barely three months ago, is meaningless. It is moral luck. Never mind, though: the timing, like everything else in the incident, will be politicized and used for political agendas.
Well, maybe not completely moral luck. A case can be made that the increasingly hysterical and long-running news coverage these tragedies receive—the last one dominated the news for more than a month—increases the likelihood that some sick kid who wants to go out in a blaze of infamy chooses this guaranteed route. No, you can’t blame CNN, much as I would like to. Nor is there any way to limit news reports and publicity, especially when it also becomes entertainment programming, and that is what the last school shooting’s emotional finger-pointing exercises became. The publicity, however, is more “to blame” than, say, the NRA.
I checked developments just before I was going to write this bullet point: sure enough, the guns used and the shooter’s method of obtaining them had absolutely nothing to do with all of the “sensible” gun-control measures that have been shouted at us since Parkland. The shooter took his father’s guns, which were legal. The guns used didn’t include an “assault-type weapon.”
Indeed, this school shooting had nothing to do with gun regulations at all. Do you think that little detail will stop the anti-gun zealots from using it to advance their agenda anyway? Of course not; facts have always been irrelevant when gun-banning is the topic.
And, sure enough, the first elected politician to intone about the matter lied, pandered, and made the job of anti-Second Amendment advocates easier. Said Texas Governor Abbott: “We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families. It’s time in Texas that we take action to step up and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again.”
How, governor? How do you make “sure” this kind of tragedy never happens again? Confiscate guns? Ban schools? Ban children? I know the idea is to say comforting things, but the idea, repeated constantly after the Parkland shooting, that such shooting can be prevented (“easily” claim the student scolds) is foolish, dishonest, and invites bad policy. Continue reading →
Now here’s Pirate Comment of the Day #2, from Jeff: Continue reading →